The Critical Role of Healthcare Philanthropy During the COVID-19 Pandemic | npENGAGE

The Critical Role of Healthcare Philanthropy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By on Apr 27, 2020

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Healthcare foundations need to make donors understand fundraising needs during COVID-19.

This is truly an unprecedented time. As a nation, we have come together to address the COVID-19 pandemic in many different ways. All of us have an important role to play even if it is primarily staying at home to flatten the curve. What we have seen thus far from healthcare organizations and healthcare providers is the true meaning of the word endurance. This is not a sprint. It is not a 5K. We are in the midst of a race where the end mile marker isn’t quite known. However, where there is endurance there is hope.

Doctors, nurses, and the teams working on the front lines have gone through extraordinary measures to save lives and protect their communities through challenging times.

And it is challenging on so many fronts. Even as healthcare organizations fight this battle, many are struggling to keep their doors open. They have not been able to conduct business as usual throughout this crisis. Disruption to the normal business model, for many, impacts cash flow and reduces revenue. This is on top of the razor thin margins that most not for profit healthcare systems operate within. As a result, these systems have had to furlough employees, freeze spending, and even close their doors. In many communities, it has left the public confused—how could a hospital or health system lay off employees—or close—in the middle of a pandemic?

 

 

The Foundation’s Role in the Crisis

I believe healthcare organizations, their philanthropic partners and donors will endure and emerge stronger from this crisis. History tells us they have done it before, countless times. It is a legacy that dates back over 250 years when Dr. Thomas Bond began to raise money for America’s first general hospital to treat the poor. The tradition continued during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic that saw countless hospitals bolstered by philanthropy. Today we are seeing a similar groundswell of support and determination.

We’ve heard from many healthcare foundations about incredible stories of endurance, sacrifice, generosity, and gratitude already. Many foundations have found themselves assisting their hospitals, nurses, and doctors in unique ways. Some are managing the ordering, purchasing and distribution of PPE. We’ve learned one foundation coordinated and managed a daycare giving their children a safe place to stay while mom and/or dad worked tirelessly. Another negotiated discounts and secured hotel rooms giving nurses and doctors a place to rest (or quarantine) while keeping their families safe. And another helped out by creating and administrating the hospital’s staff schedules so no doctor or nurse is too overwhelmed. One hospital needed bed linens folded so the foundation’s director stepped up. All of these acts were in addition to continuing to raise funds but by very unique and different means than our foundations are accustom to. These stories will be proudly added to the narrative of healthcare philanthropy.

 

Philanthropy Needs to Lead the Way in the “New” Normal

Now is the time for healthcare foundations to lead the way. It is crucial to help donors understand the financial crisis healthcare organizations are navigating.

Download “Healthcare Philanthropy: A Substantial Contribution to the System Bottom Line Beyond Earned Revenue” for ideas and strategies to make the business case for philanthropy to your hospital leadership.

Foundations will need to continue to keep the needs of the healthcare organizations in the forefront even as the media turns their focus from healthcare organizations to the opening of the economy. The case for support will adapt and change as it always has led by philanthropy’s capable hand. It will be the job of the foundations to articulate that case and, of course, offer donors and the community ways to help.

It is also the job of foundations to use this experience to become stronger fundraisers. Remember when moving from in person to virtual events was new? Now that you have embraced this change where appropriate, you are poised for even more greatness. This year you may be forced to meet your fundraising goal without the help of large events, and possibly some major donors, but you’re going to diversify your revenue streams and fulfill your mission. You are going to emerge from this crisis a stronger, better organization.

Foundations are not alone. Healthcare organizations are enduring and unwavering in their commitments to their patients, their families, and the communities they serve. They have endured challenges before and are rising to defeat the current one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As President and General Manager, Page Bullington oversees the overall business strategy, company sales, marketing and partner development for Blackbaud Healthcare Solutions. The team includes the sales and marketing of cloud-based and on-premise solutions specifically beneficial for the healthcare market, allowing these entities to increase revenue, reduce costs and enhance increased constituent relationships.  

Before this role, Page was Director of Healthcare Solutions at Blackbaud, leveraging her extensive analytics experience to oversee the solution marketing for the Blackbaud healthcare team. The US and Canada territories include hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Care Centers, Post-Acute facilities and healthcare philanthropic foundations. 

Joining Blackbaud in 2007, Page Bullington served as a strategic fundraising consultant in the Target Analytics division. Since then, she has held several key leadership roles including Director of Professional Services and Support, as well as Director of Solution Management and Marketing. Among her accomplishments are conceptualizing and launching Fundraising Essentials, the Principal Giving Solution and the Grateful Patient Solution. Prior to Blackbaud, Page was Grants Director for Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston, SC, specializing in grant writing and corporate gift funding. Her background also includes work with The National Beta Club, United States Congress, Corporate DevelopMint and the Joseph P. Riley Institute for Public Policy. She has extensive experience working in the nonprofit industry, specifically with educational, healthcare and political organizations. Her expertise centers on fundraising analytics, membership development, major gift and principal gift fundraising, patient fundraising and grants based funding initiatives. 

Page has a Masters of Public Administration from the College of Charleston with a concentration in nonprofit management, and a BA in English Literature from the Honors College of Winthrop University. She is also board member for HALOS of Charleston and the Palmetto Military Support Group. 

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